Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton, has said that the Jamaica Agricultural Marketing Information System (JAMIS) website will only benefit the sector if this important tool is utilised effectively.
“A critical part of the process going forward is to ensure that we take this out to the parishes and demonstrate it to the various levels of stakeholders, whether they are the retailers, hoteliers, agro processors, middle-men or farmers,” he stated.
Dr. Tufton was speaking at the recent launch of the website at the Ministry’s Hope Gardens offices, Kingston.
The website is part of the Ministry’s ongoing thrust to modernise the sector through the application of technology. Its primary role is to collect, compile and disseminate agricultural data, which will aid producers, purchasers, consumers and distributors. JAMIS will supply the sector with accurate information, reflecting current prices, in order to promote fair marketing and enhance competition.
Dr. Tufton pointed out that the website would force farmers and producers to be more efficient, as they compete for consumers. “What this does is allow for information to flow, across the board, and therefore gives the consumer an intelligent basis on which to choose where they want to shop, and what they want to support,” he said.
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Dr. Christopher Tufton (centre); Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Donovan Stanberry (left), and Head of Mission for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Dr. Karen Hilliard, observe as Web Developer at CDS Development Solutions, Mr. Orande Morgan (foreground), demonstrates the various features of the Jamaica Agricultural Marketing Information System (JAMIS) website, during the launch of the system at the Ministry’s Hope Gardens headquarters, today (December 14).
“It allows for negotiation and ultimately it is going to drive efficiencies, because someone who recognises that their price point based on their current operations is no longer competitive, would be forced now to search for more efficient ways of doing things,” the Minister added.
He noted that the system would address areas and challenges, which might seem unrelated to this platform. “For example, it is said that 30 to 40 per cent of produce is lost in the post-harvest management. That is reflected ultimately in the final price to the consumer or the buyer. One sure way to bring prices down is to minimise post-harvest losses, and therefore, those who want to be competitive will have to now take the necessary steps to try and address post-harvest losses. It is linked to everything,” Dr. Tufton said.
The Minister pointed out also that farmers who are not engaged in best practices would end up at a higher price point, and would therefore be likely to “price themselves out of the marketplace,” when the information on alternative and more competitive prices, is made available.
“Therefore, that farmer is going to want to engage the support to improve his production process…this is really a core activity that will have spin-offs right across the board, and improve ultimately the efficiencies that are necessary to drive the modernisation process,” Dr. Tufton said. The JAMIS website can be accessed at: www.ja-mis.com.
JAMIS will post notice boards in main municipal markets to display weekly prices for farmers, higglers, and middlemen. Prices will also be posted at Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) parish offices. Additionally, text message services detailing prices, will soon be circulated to stakeholders to allow then to make strategic decisions, and to increase transparency in the marketplace.